‘A shared vision’: British owner secures potential Olympic horses for top Irish rider

  • Two top horses have been secured for Irish international showjumper Cian O’Connor as the Paris Olympics approach, thanks to investment by a British buyer.

    Sarah Stoute of Keysoe International has bought into Maurice and Fermoy, for Cian to campaign for Olympic selection and ultimately for Sarah’s daughter Keira to ride in future.

    A spokesman for Cian said 12-year-old Maurice and 10-year-old Fermoy have both been in good form, and that Cian had “come under pressure” recently, with people interested in both horses.

    “It’s very difficult to turn down such offers,” Cian said. “The Irish team is very strong and so to make Olympic selection having enough horsepower and being match-fit is so important.

    “I’ve reached out to friend and client Sarah Stoute of Keysoe International who has decided to invest into the horses with me for the Olympic Games, and ultimately secure them in the future for her daughter Keira.”

    Cian has contested three Olympics, winning individual bronze in 2012 with Blue Loyd.

    “Together with the Magnier family, Pat Crean and Nikki Walker, I am very fortunate to already have such support and an incredible team of horses currently to ride. Wellington in Florida has gone very well so far with all the horses achieving great results. Now Keysoe International coming on board means I can keep my team of horses together, which hopefully puts me in a stronger position to ultimately support and deliver for Team Ireland.”

    Cian paid tribute to the team at his base Karlswood, in Co Meath, Ireland, adding: “One cannot live from past glories and so over the last year I’ve made a serious effort to build a strong team of people and horses around me in order to have myself well mounted and in the best shape possible to achieve success. The Olympics is never a given, it’s a dream and I’m hoping if I have the form that I can be a part of Team Ireland in Paris.”

    Ms Stoute’s Keysoe International recently revealed its plans for the future, which include top-class training facilities for riders at all levels, and projects that support the local community.

    She said: “We are proud to support Cian by helping him keep Maurice and Fermoy for his Olympic quest and delighted to secure the future rides for Keira. These two great horses will be joining her strong string of horses, particularly our stallions; KI Taj Mahal, KI Checkter and KI Festival Du Banney.

    “Myself and my family have been working with Cian and his Karlswood team now for over a year and we are thrilled to be in a position to assist him and he has our full support and backing.

    “Working with Cian and the Karlswood team is a real pleasure. We have a shared vision of a strong work ethic, attention to detail and an emphasis on forward planning and aiming high. We hope the new development at the Keysoe Athlete Development Academy is something that everyone can enjoy from all across the world.”

    Cian added that Keysoe’s goal is to help Keira develop into a professional showjumper, in which he and his team will support her.

    “We have worked with Keira over the past year and she is a very dedicated and talented athlete and we will continue to coach and assist her in achieving her own goals and targets in the sport with the ultimate aim of representing Team GB in the future,” he said.

    You might also be interested in:

    Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.

    You may like...